HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaii police charged 25-year-old Travis Demello-Oda, of Hilo in connection to two separate armed robberies near Shipman Beach in Kea’au and said 29-year-old Devin Saragosa-Taoy, of Kea’au was also charged in relation to one of the alleged incidents.
Police said the separate robberies occurred on Sunday, June 20, and Wednesday, July 14.
In the June incident, police said a man and woman reported to Puna patrol officers that they were walking out from the Shipman Beach area when a man confronted them while he was holding a large stick.
According to police, the victims reported that the suspect allegedly struck the male victim in the face before he struck the female victim in her head and arm. The suspect then allegedly took the victims’ personal belongings and fled the area, according to police.
The two victims called police from the area and responding officers were able to hike in and assist them. Police said both of the victims were transported to Hilo Medical Center and received treatment before being released.
In the July incident, police said two women in their 20s reported to police that they were walking out from the Shipman Beach area when a man contacted them and asked to use their phone. The victims reported to police that the suspect used their phone, returned it and continued walking ahead of them.
According to police, the women said the same man then allegedly jumped out from the bushes a short distance ahead on the trail. The victims reported the man pepper-sprayed one of them in the face, pushed her down and then overpowered the other woman and forcefully removed her backpack, which had a bank card, cell phone and keys to the car that was parked in the parking lot at the trailhead.
The victims found their vehicle had been stolen when they returned to the Shipman Beach parking lot, according to police. Both victims declined medical attention, though police said they received minor injuries during the incident.
Demello-Oda is the alleged culprit of both of the robberies that occurred near Shipman Beach, according to charges filed against him.
According to police, Puna officers conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle on Maku’u Drive in Kea’au on Thursday, July 22. Officers discovered the vehicle was the same one that Demello-Oda allegedly stole during the July 14 Shipman Beach parking lot incident, however, police said Saragosa-Taoy was operating it.
Officers arrested Saragosa-Taoy on suspicion of operating a stolen vehicle and obtained a search warrant for the vehicle after recovering it.
Demello-Oda was charged on Friday, July 23, on suspicion of two counts of first-degree robbery (during an emergency proclamation), three counts of third-degree assault, second-degree theft and third-degree theft, two counts of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle and unauthorized possession of personal confidential information. Authorities said Demello-Oda’s bail was set at $30,000.
Saragosa-Taoy was charged on Saturday, July 24, on suspicion of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle and as a habitual property crime offender. Authorities said Saragosa-Taoy’s bail was set at $20,000.
Both suspects remain in police custody pending an initial court appearance scheduled for Monday, July 26, in Hilo District Court.